Mirtle: Leafs Turned Down Bozak Deal

The Leafs traded Phil Kessel yesterday, which is a pretty big deal.  And although that figures to be the biggest trade the franchise will make for a very long time, they’ve got some more trades to come in the next little while if the team hopes to really shake up it’s core.

One of the players many expect to be moved in the coming weeks and months is Tyler Bozak.  Bozak, of course, was the center for Phil Kessel for almost all of his six seasons in Toronto, and he’s now the longest tenured Maple Leaf on the roster.

And while a Bozak trade may not come this off-season, it appears the Leafs have at least come close to pulling the trigger on a move involving the Leafs center in recent days.  According to The Globe and Mail’s James Mirtle, the Leafs actually turned down a trade offer from another team that would have involved Bozak getting dealt.

Here’s the juicy part of his article:

The Leafs have been getting interest and even offers on Bozak now for
a while, with the inquiring Arizona Coyotes the best fit until they
signed Antoine Vermette.

(One neutral party familiar with what the Leafs were offered for Bozak said they were surprised they hadn’t taken the deal.)

Other main talking points of the article included some discussion on two other core pieces of the Leafs roster – Dion Phaneuf and Joffrey Lupul – and the real possibility that like Bozak none of them will be dealt before a new Leafs season starts in early October.

This is interesting stuff, but it doesn’t come as much of a surprise.  We know the team wants to make significant changes and acquire as many young assets as they can, be it prospects or draft picks.  Trading away core pieces like Bozak, Phaneuf, and Lupul is the best way of achieving both of those goals.

The problem is, and this was talked about with Phil Kessel too, these players have pretty low value right now.  None of them had great seasons and each of them have at least some form of term and money on their deals.  And when you consider that many of the teams that may be looking to add to their roster are right up against the salary cap, that means you may have to wait a little bit longer before a deal comes along that you really see as worth it.

I won’t guess too much on who the team that made an offer for Bozak was since we really have no idea.  Could it have been the Coyotes before they signed Antoine Vermette?  Maybe.  Some other teams off the top of my head would be the New Jersey Devils who have plenty of cap space and a real mixed bag at center ice, and the Washington Capitals who have a reasonable amount of cap space and a need for another depth center after Jay Beagle hit the open market yesterday (though Beagle remains unsigned and may still return to Washington).  The New York Rangers and Los Angeles Kings are a couple of other teams you could argue are in need of a depth center, but both teams are a lot tighter up against the cap.

Anyways, who can really say if another core piece gets traded this summer.  If you’re impatient like me then you sure hope it happens, but it might be more realistic to expect the likes of Bozak, Phaneuf, and Lupul to be back to start next season.  As Mirtle himself notes, the Leafs likelihood of finding a deal that makes sense probably increases as time goes by and as the landscape in the NHL begins to shift.  The team made some big moves yesterday, and maybe we should start preparing for the possibility that this is the main group moving forward into next season.

      • CMpuck

        Hey kids it’s eternal optimist J Fish.

        See if you can follow the script

        Gilmour for Sullivan, Smith and other

        Sunding for… no his ego stood strong

        Rask for Raycroft

        Seguin & Hamilton for Kessel

        Kessel for AHL busts….

        It’s progress 🙂

        Show me a stat and duck reality, I’m just telling you the truth, now tell me how can’t miss 1st line Kadri is….

        If/when Marner busts, I’m just gunna be right for the billionth time not that reality matters to you Hoarchek apologist fanboys

        Give me snark because on your best day you just have a D&D stat and no argument Great blog btw kid.

        • giproc

          So tell us all more about what you see in your crystal ball. Is Nylander Marner EVERY DAMN PROSPECT gonna be a bust also? But seriously I know your upset about the return but it’s WAY TOO DAMN EARLY to tell is they are busts or not. Kapenen is still 18 y.o and Harrington is 22 y.o and they have good potential. And I trust that Mike Babcock would know how to develops young talent like he did in Detroit. And Kessel got a better return than all of Sundin, Rask, Hamilton, Seguin, and Gilmour. He also got a better return than what Ottawa got for Alfredson and Spezza or what Calgary got for Iginla, what Columbus got for Nash so how is the trade a bust?? And how is it fair to blame Shanny on what happened before he came into office for the leafs?? Its not fair at ALL

          • silentbob

            Actually that trade is more of an example of addition via subtraction.

            The Bruins, at that time, needed a leadership and culture change. Moving Thornton created opportunity for Bergeron and Krejic they probably weren’t going to get playing behind him. It also freed up the cap space needed to pursue Chara and Savard, both were huge factors in changing the culture and identity of that team.

            Even if the Kessel trade ends up being another Vince Carter deal (Kapanen and Harrington are both busts, neither of the picks become anything), if in a couple seasons Marner and Nylander and Rielly and who knows who else are here being given the opportunity to be the driving offensive force of the team and the leadership core (and both of those are positive changes…..), we could very see positive effects of this trade. That kind of change probably wouldn’t happen with a veteran like Kessel (nothing to do with him personally) in the locker room. They’d likely be, at best, second fiddle to him.

          • CMpuck

            Is Marco Sturm and Brad Stuart worth Joe Thornton??? No. And Kapanen and Harrington are 18 years old and 22 years old respectivly its too damn early to DEFINITELY say they are busy. The jury as of this mmoment is still out on them and they still have years ahead of them to develops into solid contributing players for the Leafs

          • CMpuck

            So so would you have Crouse Biggs Ross Gauthier Broll and McKegg over Marner Korostelov Nylander Johnson Brown and Kapenin? Just saying drafting size belligerence and Trukulance over hockey IQ upside speed and skill is how Burke and No is destroyed the franchise. Oh and Tyler Johnson Gadreau Giroux Martin St.Louis, Patrick Kane and CROSBY are smaller players and NO ONE complains about them!!! Why would the leafs even want to sacrifice speed and skill for a 6 ft5 player who can barely skate???? Although I do agree the leafs do need more Center Defense and Goalie prospects rather than winger prospects although Hunter does want Marner to play as a center men

          • CMpuck

            The leafs are just in year one in the draft so its OK to draft wingers for now considering the leafs will be getting top 5 picks for the next 3-4 years before they’re on the upswing. The leafs have plenty of time to get more center prospects in the cupboards. I do think also that if the leafs Draft Matthews next year he can be a centremen in the NHL for years to come. And hopefully Kadri can grow and develop into a top line center, not a franchise top line center but a reliable top line center. But as for now the leafs need more top end prospects regardless of position

          • CMpuck

            Actually Burke destroyed his rebuild attempt by trading for an elite undersized scoring winger that Dumbuss had to eat salary for 8 years to trade.

            Rebuild through high end centers and blueliners you can just trade for great wingers when needed.

            Get your facts straight and spare me the Crouse/Biggs/Ritchie speech.

            Where are he high end center prospects in this organization? The only great blueliner is the one that Burke (that guy you’re bashing for ignoring hockey IQ) took.

            Better responses please, this is too easy.

          • Harte of a Lion

            Again were just they’re at the beggining at the draft. I know you want centers and defensmen prospects. So do I. But the leafs have plenty of years to accumulate what they need. Hopefully next year the leafs can draft Sean Day or Matthews to get more building blocks for those positions. However you did make a good point on the Kessel trade too. It was a huge mistake by Burke but at the same time let’s not assume Shanny will do the same because he doesn’t look like he wants to do so. And he shouldn’t do so. The leafs need homegrown talent through the draft. And the leafs already started to accumulate picks. The leafs will most likely get more centers and D-Men like they need. Then trade for more assets like Buffalo did

          • CMpuck

            It’s a matter of fast tracking your rebuild. In a couple of years Buffalo built an Echiel, Reinhart, ROR complete core down the middle whereas it took Edmonton a decade to put together what looks to be a skeleton of a contender in McDavid, Draisail, RNH (though RNH is suspect).

            Wasted years on Hall, Yakupov, RNH is borderline IMO. The high end wingers are just luxury pieces.

            Personally, loved Nylander at 8th but find Marner redundant given there was equivalent blueline options at 4th. Being deep on the wing on the farm is not an adequate rebuild attempt IMO.

          • CMpuck

            Seguin > Hall, Murray, Rielly > Yakupov, RNH fringe on a contender IMO get that is up for debate.

            My logic holds.

            You’re welcome to actually same something doubt you’re up to it though 🙂

    • silentbob

      I know cmpuck is sarcastically trolling here but he is nailing this. If Nonis traded kessel for the pathetic return and then turned down a bozak deal we would see the return of the great potato.

      Guys like cmpuck (and keith olbermann) are necessary to fully flesh out authors bias – be them bloggers or mittenstringers like simmons.

      Never change folks – even if the opinion is unpopular I get as much from the comments as the writer

      • silentbob

        But its not a “given” that the return they got was pathetic.

        They got two pretty good (not amazing) prospects. Here is a short scouring report on Kapanen I saw the other day in an article about this trade – A strong two-way forward that has shown a nose for the net and has packed on muscle to an initially small frame has made Kapanen all but a sure thing to reach the NHL level. Standing 6’0″ and 181 pounds, Kapanen is not afraid to play physical and reach the dirty areas of the ice, something that has been lacking for the Maple Leafs in recent seasons.

        The same article on Harrington – Despite posting just 13 career goals in four OHL seasons, Harrington served as the captain for his London Knights team and twice was chosen to represent Canada at the World Junior Championships. Possessing great size and a willingness to play physical, his defensive style should mesh well with one of the Maple Leafs’ talented young offensively talented defensemen.

        Just because Kapanen and Harrington aren’t/weren’t “house hold names” doesn’t mean they aren’t good prospects.

    • CMpuck

      Dude it’s going great we’re set on the wing for guys that can’t forecheck for years…

      Don’t actually think or read what I say

      Nonis and Carlyle are gone everything is ok.

  • jasken

    I still believe Bozak has alot to offer and if the Leafs are turning down trades for him maybe they do too. Bozak would be used to ease other players into NHL properly. There is a proper way of doing things Bozak is just the type that does what he is told and preaches it. He has the right attitude although his skills are 2nd line center at best his best attributes are off ice and his desire and commitment to do what it takes to play.

    Shanny was hired and I believe he has a philosophy and it starts with him which he passed onto his management and now its trickled down and starting on players. What Shanny wants you to be in everyday and he wants you to work. That goes from the GM to the coach to the players, from the minor-league team, to the rink to the scouting staff. He sets the tone that way, the expectations are high and proud of it. You need a core, don’t chase every one, It’s not just a player or a coach, it’s good people in the right positions you get put into a system where you learn and become a student of the game. Players are going to be put in all kinds of situations, whether it’s the power play, penalty killing, five-on-five, late in games, whether you’re up a goal or down a goal, you play in key situations.

    Babcock had talks with all the players if Bozak stays its because he is committed to the process and his hockey IQ more than any position he plays

  • giproc

    Optimum would be to trade all of them, but I’m not worried about keeping them until the deadline.

    I’m actually interested to see what Bozak can do without the influence of Kessel. He won’t be a 50 point centre, of course. But I think he’s the type who will buy easily into Babcock’s plan and be a piece the coach can use with confidence (especially without Kessel chirping in his ear saying how lame everyone else is and blaming everyone but himself.)

    Third line centre who can move up and down the line up. Kind of pricey but we need to pay someone to play for the next few years.

  • Harte of a Lion

    Shanahan and Babcock preached pain. I wrote shortly after Babcock was hired that the pain would be both in losing for a few years as well as the poor return for some of the players. Kessel did everything in his power to create a $hitty environment for a trade and he succeeded in screwing the team one last time.
    As if making $10M isn’t enough, he ensured the Penguins had them over a barrel.
    Was the return less than everyone hoped? Yes. Can we evaluate this trade now? Yes. I will bet my meagre pension that there will never be another game where it appears the players don’t care. This trade is about accountability.
    Last week every article and comment stressed the importance of trading Kessel and now the old women are crying they didn’t get enough return… Boo Hoo…
    What this trade accomplished is showing every player, writer and fan who is in charge.
    No more BS, no more whining, complaining, stick gates, half a$$ed efforts.

    I do not see Shanny and the management team handing out many no trade/movement clauses in the future.

    • Jeremy Ian

      Some people like to complain and see the glass as half empty. But don’t lump all who see this deal as a disappointing one into the same camp, please.

      Maybe the Leafs had no choice once they were determined to jettison Kessel. But what the Leafs for in return was not par. Period. Once the Leafs committed to dumping him, it was a buyers’ market and they bargained from a self-made position of weakness. It is not boo-hooing to be clear-eyed.

  • Harte of a Lion

    One final note, I always appreciated his almost freakish talent and was often in awe at the ease the game came to Phil while he was on one of his hot streaks however why isn’t anyone mentioning how PK immediately cancelled his hockey camp upon hearings of the trade. Rather than attempt to make alternate arrangements, perhaps get other players or the management to oversee the camp, he disappointed every kid who signed up. I am certain the Team could have made some arrangements.
    It must have been an emotional day hearing they traded him to Pittsburg after he did everything in his power to make it impossible, but Phil, the kids….
    One last disappointment…
    Great talent, no class

  • CMpuck

    Bozak leads a frickin’ charmed life.

    His friend, confidant, and meal ticket, Kessel, is run out of town. He’s likely to lose his first line status to Kadri, and be exiled to a sheltered middle-six line, while Winnik and Komarov take all the tough minutes and DZ starts. Bozak will be playing with rookies & underachievers on a putative third line.

    Bloody hell. He’s losing a disengaged Kessel on his wing and gaining Panik and Nylander.

    Dude lives a charmed life.

      • TGT23

        Bozak won 53%
        Kadri won 46%

        H. Sedin 45%
        Crosby 49%
        Malkin 42.8%
        Monahan 49.3%
        Stamkos 49.7%
        Couture 48.2%
        T.Johnson 48.7%
        RNH 45.7%
        Stepan 44%
        MacKinnon 47%

        Is there a C in that list you WOULDN’T take over Bozak? It’s almost like faceoffs are a small part of the game.